Brodhead 1856 - 1880 | Part 1

The following is a typed account by Augusta Ryall found in Brodhead's Historical Society's archives ...

Brodhead 1856 to 1880 By Augusta W. Ryall

There was never a dull moment in Brodhead in the years following 1856.

The War of the Rebellion as the Civil War was called broke out in May and volunteers in large numbers left the area for the front; however by 1862-63 when reports of the horrible conditions prevailing in prison plus the thousands of men dying of fever and dysentery began trickle the Hon. Brooks Dunwiddie, Monroe, made regular journeys here to speak in behalf of recruits for the 31st Wisconsin Regiment because the draft quota had fallen so low. Draftees themselves were paying others to go in their place whenever possible - a common practice elsewhere - and at time the widows and orphans in this community began to present a problem and a Ladies Mite Society was organized with Mrs. T.T. Cortelyou. 

They held what they termed monthly "levee" meetings, which consisted of a sewing bee, a mite box tax, and a big dinner provided by the member was attended by upwards of 150 persons. Proceeds were contributed the work among families of soldiers with the armed forces or who ha ready given their lives for the cause. This enterprise was considerably stimulated by Citizen Lt. H.P. Clinton, of the 7th Wisconsin Regime home on sick leave who told of a regiment of 1046 men reduced by disease and slaughter to 153 "effective" men. At the same time, Thomas A. of Co. B 18th Wisconsin Volunteers was preparing to return to his post and offering to convey parcels or letters to his comrades from this

Soldier's Aid Fund meetings were held all that winter a the Manley House, Halstead's Hall and private residence in the area and the "half dimes" collected presented to the fund. ing these meetings numbered between 250 and 300 persons. Crowds attending these meetings numbered between 250 and 300 persons. 

No early day account of Brodhead would be complete without reference to I.F. Mack, local editor of the Brodhead Independent, whose printed words were as sharp as a sickle, who on occasion took the Congregationalists, the Methodists and the Presbyterians, separately to task for their manner of singing, yet later rallied more than 100 persons to attend classes given by a Mr. Benjamine, a music master of Janesville - who reminded each new preacher who arrived in town that the community would "have no nonsense" - that the Gospel must be preached - who on the other hand extolled local citizenry generously for the fine fowl they presented him as gifts on holiday occasions and in the next issue told off the delinquents on his subscription list. Still was a conscientious and vigorous leader and advocate of any progress movement launched for the betterment of Brodhead.

After two postponements account of the weather, the Congregationalists on December 17, 1862 dedicated their new church.

One of the outstanding events that year was given by Bicknell Lodge No. 94 of the AF & AM at the Methodist church when Dr. P. Wymen Wright delivered a lecture on the Philosophy of Association as Illustrated by the Principles of Free Masonry, which was open to the public.

In 1863 appliances were making their appearance and the Wheeler & Wilson sewing machine (which had won a grand prize at a national exposition) vied with the Grover & Baker and Little Giant Machines in the community, and Myron Halstead and other merchants often appeared at the ladies' sewing bees with their machines and operated them for the ladies. to promote sales of their product.

Magazine salesmen were on the job in the 1860's too and towns people were warned against giving travelling agents subscriptions to Lady's Friend, Saturday Evening Post, Godey's Lady's Book and Atlantic Monthly, as those periodicals employed no such agents.

The celebrated Iron Duke Stove was on display in Lakin's Hard ware store and a Mr. J.M. Hutchison had taken rooms in the Morris Block and would "take life like pictures of anyone" and give soldiers a special low price.

A woolen "manufactory" had been rumored for sometime and on January 27, 1865 an organization meeting was called with Dr. R. Morris, Deacon Clinton, S.C. Pierce, Jacob Tenyck, Dewey Gardner, E.T. Fleek, C. Seeber and John Douglas in charge of the subscribers meeting. Although Brodhead still had no bank, business was reported as brisk, were even though that year's crops were short, but shopkeepers were reported as "reaping a golden harvest in greenbacks" and that winter's sleighing was exceptionally fine.

This community was thoroughly aroused over the planned assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Wm. H. Seward and Andrew Jackson which had originated with the Selma, Ala. Dispatch and which news was sent to the Chicago Journal by Col. Hoge of the 113 Ill. Infantry and again released by the local editor, and when the local voters went to the poles on November 11, 1864 they vindicated their loyalty to the Union by casting a majority of 126 votes for "Old Abe" and similar sentiment seems to have prevailed throughout Green county where the Union vote showed a majority of 959 votes.

Brodhead was quite a settled community by the spring of 1865. Rev. S.M. Chrissman of Canton, 11. had conducted preaching services at regular intervals at Robert Taylor's school house forenoons on Sunday and afternoons at the Methodist church. Rev. G.W. Lawrence, pastor of the Universal 1st church in Janesville held services once a month at the school house, the Methodists were busy building their parsonage, and in July the Presbyterians called Rev. A.R. Day, a well known Denver, Colo. minister to serve here. He arrived in August.

What was called a "Donation Sociable" was very popular in those days and whenever a new pastor arrived the entire community regardless of faith a dinner were asked to attend a dinner and the money contributed was given to the new minister, and in two instances such a benefit was staged for the purpose of purchasing one of the fine $225.00 cabinet organs - for the Congregational and the Presbyterian church. The Methodists raised their organ fund by presenting their choir augmented by a Mr. Kimberly of the 1st Brigade Band in July of that year. However, all 3 churches now had resident pastors.

Intemperance now presented a problem in the community with its "Smokey Row" of saloons on Exchange street, and a group known as the Good Templars, men and women numbering several hundred, came into existence and held a festival led by a Mr. Balch and a Mrs. Wright of Milwaukee, with Rev. Mr. Chadeayne of the M.E. Church delivering the message, with a supper following which was attended by nearly 200 persons Thereafter, at regular intervals, the Good Templars held meetings in the community.

On April 7, a severe wind storm destroyed the Burnham tobacco warehouse, the Rosecranz barn and injured a fine span of horses in the barn, as well as several other buildings in town.

On Sunday April 9 the Rev. E.S. Miner united Frank A. Mitchell of Brodhead and Edith A. Hodge of Warsaw, N.Y. in marriage at the residence of Dr. R. Morris.

Word of the surrender of General Lee was brought to this community by a Mr. Warren and party from Janesville on Monday, April 11.

A Miss Olin had opened a select school in the Clinton Hall in April 1865. She later accepted employment at Waukesha.

A Mr. Thomas was selling 100 lots centrally located within two blocks of the postoffice, some situated on "Mechanic Square" (presumably our Exchange Square at present.) That was a hard winter and the dams at Albany and Decatur suffered considerable damage by ice.

Goodhues Store sought to interest local business men in subscribing to a circulating library.

Brodhead postoffice had moved into the Taylor & Mitchell store, with Mrs. Clinton postmistress from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. "as required by law" and the good lady was experiencing great trouble account of a group of small boys who persisted in forcing their way to the head of the general delivery line asking for letters for parties who she stated "did not receive two letters a year, if any": and she wanted the evil ended by parents because business men had to wait for their mail each time; also she drew attention to a group of about 15 young girls who met each train and "mingled with the men" and who she was sure had no earthly business at the depot reminded her of a trip she made from Richmond to New Orleans where the train was greeted at each station stop by a group of women.

Great prominence was given to the fact that the Chicago Tribune had come out in June with a 10 column sheet.

Village law officers had their troubles too - between 200 and 300 head of cattle and colts were said to be ignoring fences and roaming the town at their liesure, the complaint being that those who owned the greatest number of beasts owned the least land - that it cost from thirty to forty dollars a month to hire a man to chase cattle and repair fences.

A.W. Sutherland was acclaimed highly for the training lessons he gave for breaking halter and harness to untamed colts in the area and one of the newest enterprises that summer was an Ice Cream Vault" being operated by Ed Cole.

Fourth of July, 1865 was celebrated with a horse race put on by an Albany racer and a stallion owned by Lieut. Balis of Brodhead, in the afternoon, the Albany horse winning in two trials, by a few yards. Then followed a community lunch basket dinner and in the even ing there were fireworks, Chinese lanterns, ten foot fire balloons and union flags galore, with never an accident to anyone and Captains Randall and Jackson preserving order, with Israel Saith supervising the program, and J.C. Converse of Beloit the guest speaker for the day. Several balls followed in the evening, among the one held by the young Scandinavians.

On July 14 Cole and Gordon opened s wagon shop in the village near the grist mill. At the same time, a Mr. Gosling, who operated a blacksmith shop was displaying his new invention 'which does entirely away with the usual manner of resetting a tire on a wheel.' The loose tires are placed in this machine, he explained, and contracted to proper size by pressure and welding. A "Sorgo" machine for making sorghum into syrup and sugar was also being displayed in the village.

On November 24th the new South Side school opened or classes.

A World Week of Prayer was observed from Jan 7 through the 14th with a program in each church, each day and the Good Templers, now in a flourishing condition and "out to raise a breeze on the calm surface of Brodhead's liquid stream" using their own words, led by such names as JC Chase, Misses Harding, Hattie Haroun, Nettie Smith, Albert Hunt, Emma Lyman, Anna Conat, Ellen Rogers, Sylvester Stewart, Farnie Barnes, Caleb Nanscawen and Tom Bunce, rented a hall over Cole's Drug Store for 5 years to hold their meetings.

The community was highly incensed over a drunken brawl at the depot which had resulted in the depot agent being knocked down and a billet of wood' hurled through the window of the train hitting a women passenger. Two of the malefactors were fined $100.00 and the preachers of the Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterien congregations held services flaying the liquor dealers and there followed a series of revival services in the Presbyterian church. The spring election on April 6, 1866 resulted in a victory for the drys. Mr Singing schools, oyster suppers, festivals and donation sociable followed each other throughout the winter, and the community was buzzing with rumors of a bank, a telegraph line from Janesville to Monroe through Brodhead, and a woolen mill.

Meanwhile the weather in April played havoc and the melting snow damaged the railroad bridge over the Sugar river, making it un usable for days, prevented some of the Jorden Prairie voters from even voting, swept away fences, roads and embankments, and damaged race bridges as well as gates and sluices ending up by washing out Clarence bridge the worst rise in 18 years or within the memory of the oldest inhabitant." The Frank Willis residence was struck by lightning and the local market flooded by wild ducks and pickerel because of the "freshet."

Brodhead 1866-1869

June 15, the Town Board of Spring Grove advertised for proposals for the erection of a 130 foot span type Howe Truss Bridge across the river at Clarence for which $4000.00 had been voted in the spring election. 

Rev. Chadeayne of the M E Church was now transferred to Oregon Circuit near Madison and in September Rev. Mr. Wilson of Monroe was moved to Brodhead - an interesting exhibit at Lakin & Hall was the new Cast-Cast Steel Turf and Stubble Plow and a severe electrical storm in July killed 30 horses in the area, 9 within the village were found piled up in a fence corner and again the "freshets" narrowed the pike entering town along the Sugar river so that two teams were unable to pass.

October 26, a drive for $7000 by subscription was under way for Brodhead's new school and a board of trustees to be elected. 

Mr. Fisher (Miss Helen Beckwith's grandfather) moved a  building from Decatur to Brodhead to Mechanic Square where a cellar was being dug for it, to make up for the loss of the old Clinton Hotel which had been taken down and removed to a point on the Iowa division of the M & F du C RR for hotel accommodations in November of 1866.

New side walks of pine planks and stone were laid from Wood and Clarks warehouse to Smith & Smith, grocers, and inhabitants bemoaned the fact that the community lacked trees, had only barren prairie roads, no town hall, no public park and no public square as yet. L.E. Towne was elected Worshipful Master of Bicknell Lodge 94 AF & AM and the masonic fraternity put on a grand festival in January 1867 which was well attended.

Local residents were much concerned when news of the burning of the Hyatt House, Janesville, on Jan. 12, was brought here, and felt that their new 8 frame building business district might well be a $50,0000 loss in case of fire and began to talk of organizing a fire department. There was 10" of snow on the ground in the area.

Fob. 8, 1867 attention was being directed by local editor I F Mack  to the fine new Janesville Weekly Gazette - "one of the best as well as the largest weekly papers published in the state sound to the core on the great questions of the day and its influence always exerted in defense of right typographically unsurpassed in the northwest."

About 30 families of Baptists, (seemingly very wealthy settlers) organized a church society and promptly made plans for a church and were joined by a group of their sect living in the Spring Valley area. The February weather again played havoc with the railroad road beds and the Manley House was filled to overflowing with travelers waiting for the west bound train to be able to continue on with them.

On Feb. 29, 1867, the Presbyterians under the leadership of Rev. A.R. Day and Elders Wm. Martin, Isaac Martin, I.F. Mack, Sen. Malcomb Harper, Wm. Bradley, Leonard Lakin and Isaac Moore (the latter their choir director) with Rev. Matthew Fox, guest speaker dedicated their fine $5423.00 Edgerton brick church which was entirely free of debt.

On March 12, 1867 a village charter was proposed - an Old Fellows Lodge organized, and the Brodhead Band came into existence. 

April 8, 1867 Brodhead school district which had been created by the state legislature, called its first annual meeting and elected H.B. Stewart and T.J. Balis for one year; Leonard Lakin and Dr. L.E. Towne for 2 years; and Dr. R. Morris and R.H. Ragg for 3 years; it "being understood that the railroad track is the dividing line north and south." 194 votes were cast, end 5 members seated without opposition. It so happened that 3 commissioners had been elected from each side of the track, so everyone was satisfied. At the same time it was voted to build the new school at the head of Mechanic street (now Exchange) directly south of Deacon Hulburt's residence. I.F. Mack who had been superintendent of the Rochester,

On May 24, Eldor Sheldon an Adventint preacher arrived in the village and set up a big tent and held a series of meetings at which he prophesied the end of the world in 1869 he later changed that prediction to 1873. A smart prankster drove his team and buggy over one of the guy ropes holding the tent down and nearly caused the tent to collapse on the people, however, no one was injured and only a couple of lamps used for lighting were broken.

A GAR Post was organized in June with Capt. T. A. Jackson, Post Commander; Charlie Cottle, Senior Vice Commander and D.W. Tyrell, Adjunt.

Now began the first of the great Methodist Camp Meetings, which ran for several days and Methodists from surrounding counties as well as area Methodists gathered at what was known as the James farm, 4 miles north of Monroe and at the end of the meeting on June 11, 32 new members were taken in and more than 3,000 persons had attended the meeting from surrounding settlements as well as Brodhead including Rev. Lewis then pastor of the local church, and a collection of $124.00 taken up to purchase a large circus tent to be used next year which would house 1,000 or more persons at a time.

That was the year of the "potato bug plague" and having tried everything else the Boscobel Appeal advised using 1 gallon of coal oil to a barrel of water, sprinkled lightly on vines with a brush or watering pot. On May 28 a violent hall storm covered the ground 1-1/2 inches in depth yet every carpenter, plasterer or mechanic of every kind was pressed into service putting up homes and business buildings in the village oats was 550 a bushel and wheat not to be had at any price, giving the millers quite a worry with mill feed doubled in cost over a year before..

C. Seeber began negotiations toward the purchase of the old school building for use as a Catholic Church on August 20th and the local school board appointed John Blanchard, Robt. McLaren and B.R. Clausen appraisers of the old building and later the 3 lots and school were auctioned off at 1675.00 to Fred Gumbar acting for the Catholic congregation. The building itself brought $900.00 and H.B. Stewart bought the corner lot for $250.00. The Catholics held a large festival followed by a supper and dance at the Manley House on Jan. 23, 1868 Father Doyle of Janesville came here on Feb. 18, to conduct services and in his report to the Catholic Telegram of Cincinnati on March 4 stated that he "found Brodhead with a population of some 2000 souls, several good hotels, expensive stores and warehouses of Milwaukee brick, and a fine public school, 3 neat churches, and a people so bent on securing waterpower that they built a canal to bring the water to their fine gristmill." Masses were now conducted at Brodhead and Albany 3 times a month, and at Footville 2 times a month by Father J.A. Kinsella.

News of the gold strikes now excited villagers when H.T. Brown local typesetter who had left Brodhead with a group from Evansville, in April 1866, and now returned from the diggings at Diamond City and Confederate Gulch, Montana displaying nuggets as large as a piece of chalk - that miner's wages were between $6 and $10 a day and he could hardly wait to join his comrades again out west.

The Sugar river again went on a rampage and as early as March water was reported at the top of hitching posts in Albany, and here the railroad bed and embankments were washed out, and Albany's Mill plus 200 flour barrels, one-half of the Warren store building and their new bridge, several fine carriages with the buildings still over them floated down the river to Brodhead with estimated damage of $25,000. Here a large break in the race bank near Deacon Clinton's bridge and the bulk head and embankment near the dam gave way. In June the river rose 8 feet in several hours and Wm. O'Neil of Spring Grove hed 114 sheep drowned while others suffered much loss of livestock in the area.

The Masons sought larger quarters the spring of 1868.

Hon. Burr Sprague representative of Orford District moved to Brodhead and built a fine home. His daughter, Jessie Sprague, born Sept. 1, 1869 was Brodhead's librarian for 30 years prior to 1939 when she retired. 200 teams tied to the hitching posts in Brodhead's sandy streets in the business district of Mechanic and Center streets was a common sight any week day. on May 5 the sawmill owned and operated by C. Seeber at Spring Grove burned to the ground with 1000 loss and was thought to have been the result of incendiarism. The community was shocked by a daring midnight robbery staged by several hard characters who forced householder Wm. H. Strawser to toss his pocketbook containing $620.00 out of a second story window to them under threat of murdering the inhabitants of the house unless he did so.

There was great concern when it was discovered that the new machinery such as a McCormick Reaper could not be hauled across the narrow bridges in the community especially the rece bridges, be cause of their width.

4th of July was celebrated with the old-time fervor once more in 1868, with C.G. Williams of Janesville reading the Declaration of Independence a band and George Monell, Capt. Allen and Harvey Moore leading the Bummers in a display of horsemanship - 3000 persons in addition to the villagers spent the day here and H.E. Cook put on a fireworks display which included 3 fire balloons for the audience after dark. The heat was terrific from 92 to 100 Timothy hay cost $8.00 a ton and a heavy storm put the Suger river out of its banks again.

Brodhead Tanner's Club 100 strong- (an aftermath of the Civil War) was organized on September 14- their motto being: "We will route the Copperheads and Rebels once more." Fred Gumbar was building e 3 story hotel on Exchange street next to the Milwaukee tracks - the republicans won the November local election and Miss Lizzie Gehr had charge of Primary School on the southside.


On January 11 the entire community was at stirred over the incident of a lady about 60 years of age, who on arriving by train at the depot, became violently ill in the waiting room, was removed by Messrs. Wheaton and Wood, overseers of the poor, to a comfortable place where a physic was called, and the following day she died at the Henry Sorrs residence without having revealed her identity. On orders of Coroner C. Seeber and County Board Supervisor W.A. Wheaton she was buried in the local cemetery, with Revs. Lewis and Webb of the M.E. and Congregational churches officiating and a large number of villagers attending the services. On going through her trunk, nothing was found to identify her except a gold signet ring bearing the initials "JB" and a silver thimble. Eastern papers were asked to "please copy" the death notice. S.M. Gosling, outstanding local mechanic, now took it upon himself to manufacture velocipedes and local males practiced short turns around the depot property to determine how great speed could be attained, the audiences declaring some of the locals to be the best riders in western Wisconsin.'

In February, E. Bowen of Brodhead (who had just completed one of the finest homes in the village) together with Messrs. Ludlow and Hoffman of Monroe, "the 3 heaviest monied men in the county" mede plans to build and open a bank here. After nearly 13 years wait the community now had a bank which opened for business on Monday, August 16, 1869.

Considerable stock in the proposed Sugar River Valley RR had been subscribed as early as 1868 but the road which was planned between Brodhead and Albany was not yet under way, and, the stage which made regular trips on this run bogged down in the thawing ice and mud one trip in February obliging the driver and his male passengers to crawl out and wade up to their waists breaking ice ahead of them for some 15 or 20 rods in order to get the stage coach back on the pike again. However, no one seems to have suffered ill after effects.

Times were a trifle dull in 1859 and merchants Thomas Kelley, Dickinson & Son, L.C. Morrison and F.C. Yolton gave notice that credit dealing would be discontinued as of June 14 and merchandise sold only for cash and country produce.

Female Suffrage began to rear its heed in spring of that year and when a copy of the Agitator (the suffrage magazine) reached the community, Editor Mack advised the males "to take an Agitator if they had not one already in their house."

A citizens meeting was called on March 20 at Wheaton & Mitchell's store to make rules and regulations for safe keeping and detention of drunken and disorderly persons under chapter 88 General Laws of Wisconsin for unincorporated villages, one of the social events reported was a calico wedding observed by Mr. and Mrs. Hempstone on the occasion of their 15th anniversary all guests both male and female being attired in calico "cap-s-pie" (from head to foot.)

The village lost one of its most beloved citizens in the pass ing of Lieut. Henry M. Balis whose residence was at Spring Valley, and accorded him one of the largest funerals of record, Bicknell Lodge AP & M of which he was a member holding full Masonic rites at the church in Orford finally accompanying the body to the Orford centery for burial. So many were the mourners that it 'required more than an hour for all to pass the casket.'

That spring the mud holes were so numerous and deep on Mechanic street from Center to the school that girls walked on the fences along the way wild pigeons began to land in such number in April that those versed in the business of capturing them began to build ambuscades and nets it being reported that over in Iowa and western Wisconsin they were so numerous they made a clean sweep of the grain coming up and it was necessary to frighten them away. State superintendent of schools Craig gave a lecture at the Brodhead school which was well attended.

Rev. and Mrs. A. Lewis observed their golden wedding anniversary - 3 to 4" of snow lay on the ground in April - the local paper had been sold to Kimberly and Tyrell and ex-Editor I F. Mack, jr. had purchased a paper at Sandusky, Ohio and gone there to live. The Monroe Turnvereins gave an acrobatic exhibition at Gumber's Hall which was declared of' strictly moral character and witnessed by both ladies and gentlemen.

The Methodists opened their annual camp meeting on May 28 on the J.E. Phillips farm in Spring Valley Center - June 8 the area teachers held a convention at Monroe with State Supt. Craig and county Supt. D.H. Morgan scheduled to take part in the program and citizens in Monroe putting up the teachers over night.

Manager Merrill of the M & St P RR reported that the road had carried. 5,767 passengers from Monroe to Brodhead and 5,164 from Brodhead to Monroe during 1868 that the local grist mill had shipped 19,833 barrels of flour east; 456 barrels west besides a large quantity which had gone by wagon to Footville where it was put aboard the C & N W. In addition 50,897 bushels of wheat; 15,449 of rye; 1464 of barley; 71,809 of oats and 26,902 of corn had been shipped east from Brodhead.


This was the season when excursions to Milwaukee, Madison, White water and elsewhere became popular end the Presbyterians, Methodists, and the Brodhead Band as well as groups of business men engaged as much as two railroad coaches, usually under the leadership of Messrs. Roderick, Taylor, Hutchison and Lakin, at $1 for children and $2 for adults for the round trip which included a basket lunch and several hours of sightseeing at the point of their destination, enough being realized to promote several worthy enterprises locally. Brodhead now had seven white brick business houses, 5 two stories high and the balance 3-story buildings, besides the new Young Hotel was nearly ready for occupancy.

September lat there were 7 drygoods stores, 4 drug stores, 3 groceries, 2 boot and shoe stores, 2 hardware stores, 3 lumber yards, 3 wagon factories, 4 blacksmith shops, one plow factory, a flour mill with la run of 5 stones, two good hotels and numerous other business houses including a book and wallpaper store of which Barr Sprague was proprietor, and Messrs. Carpenter and Rood, of Monroe had commenced putting in a $6,000 foundry opposite the m111 site.

A Bell Festival was held at McNair & Kurtz new hall on Exchange Square to raise funds for a bell for the Congregational church, and Governor Lucius Fairchild who was invited to the affair accepted by letter stating he "had long wanted to meet the people of Brodhead." The 1200 lb. bell with clappers and fixtures arrived here on January 14 on the morning train from Troy, N.Y. where it had been cast - and was purported to have cost $500.00.

Brodhead's Cornet Band was organized in November Charley Burr travelled through the surrounding countryside with his wagon of Yankee notions, tinware etc. and was reckoned 'a right good fellow to deal with throughout the community - C.N. Carpenter was elected Worshipful Master of Bicknell Lodge AF & AM for 1870 with C.W. Mitchell, Thos. H. McGovern, J.M. South, Alfred Wood, Burr Sprague, T.D. Laird and C.C. Stone holding other offices. An explosion of one of the new gasoline burner type lamps caused painful injuries to several members of the Nathan Rice family and Samuel Bennett was turning out 1500 brooms the first six weeks of his operation here.

1870 On Feb. 17, 1870 the Manley House which had been put up in 1857 caught fire and all water in the wells being exhausted, and no reserve reservoirs as yet built, the volunteers were hard put to the task of saving the Bennett Block next door and the Halsteed residence which was close by. The loss was $3,000.

On May 6 a village charter meeting was called to see if taxes could not be levied for purchasing an engine, building some reservoirs, and forming a hook and ladder company for fire protection in the village

On May 23, the home of Conrad Matter, father of the late Mary Matter, which was one of the first new residences built in the village by John H. Overbaugh in 1858-59 burned to the ground and again on May 27 fire destroyed the Tolan & Kelley's store with a loss of $12,000.

Part 2 of Augusta's account coming soon...